Just yesterday I reviewed the Hideman VPN service and found its free offering to be limited by a number of factors. Today it is a review of proXNP, a service that is also offering a free and subscription-based VPN service. Lets first dive into the two different account types before we take a look on your connection options once you have signed up to the service.
Basic users are not limited in time or data transfer amounts but are limited when it comes to the connection speed, which is capped at 300 Kbps, and one server location they can connect to in the United States. That's a convenient compromise between limiting free accounts and making sure that free users can use the service whenever they want.
Premium users who pay $9.95 per month on top of that get unlimited connection speeds, access to server locations in the US, Europe and Asia, PPTP connectivity and not only OpenVPN connectivity, support for Apple iOS devices, and a VPN Guard feature.
VPN Guard is only available if the software client is used. When that is the case, you can configure the software to automatically close applications on the system when the VPN connection drops.
You do not have to use the client to connect to the VPN. Instead, you can also use information posted on the VPN provider's website to directly connect to a server using built-in connection tools. I have tested this under Windows 7 and it worked without issues.
The 300 Kbps that the basic service provides you with is enough for regular web browsing and light Internet activities. It is enough to check emails, load Internet websites, play Flash games (may have to wait a bit until they are fully loaded), chat on Facebook or Twitter, or any of the other activities that do not require a faster Internet connection than that. What you can't really do is get streaming video to work without lots of buffering or big downloads. I would not really recommend using the service to download the latest Windows 8 test release or a Linux distribution.
Premium users do not have those limitations and I was able to get TV streaming services in various countries to work without larger buffering issues. Since you have servers in various countries, you can theoretically access streaming services in those countries, which is great for ex-pats, when you are on holidays or on a business trip. Don't want to miss TV from home? This may be your ticket in.
Both account types allow you to benefit from the major features that a virtual private network connection provides to users:
I ran tests on Speedtest.net using several of the server connections that ProXPN was offering and results varied a lot depending on which server you were connected to. As far as download speed goes, results ranged from 4.21 Mbps to 19.21 Mbps, and upload speeds ranged from 0.88 Mbps to 2.53 Mbps. While not maxing out my 50 Mbps connection it should be sufficient for all Internet related tasks.
You may also want to try different servers to get the one that is giving you the best connectivity and speeds.
When it comes to privacy and logging, the company makes it very clear that they are not monitoring, recording or storing logs of user activities on their network. What they do record for billing and security purposes are the bandwidth usage and the connection dates and times. The logs are kept for a maximum of 14 days, and only used to track down abusive users of the service.
Free users get a reliable VPN service that they can count on at any time of the day or month since there is no time limit or data cap in place. Premium users on top of that get an excellent selection of servers in Europe, Asia and the US - with Asia a bit underrepresented - and additional features like uncapped connection speeds or PPTP connectivity.
The website could use additional instructions on how to set up the VPN on Windows, Mac and Android systems manually.
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